Poppin' Tags

$42 at the Thrift Store

This is the story of three pairs of dope ass shoes, one skirt, two dresses and one shirt that can double as a (short) dress.  I estimate that I got about $270 worth of clothes for the cost of two drinks at a rooftop bar in Manhattan. Behold, the glory:

Ellen Tracy denim & leather pumps. Approx value: $70. I paid: $15.

Love these. And they’re comfortable too!
Zora's always trying to get shine.
Zora’s always trying to get shine.

Naturalizer sandals (perfect condition – apparently never worn).

Approx value: $75. I paid: $7.50

Naturalizer sandals. Perfect condition. 90% off.

You didn’t believe me when I said they were in perfect condition? Would I lie to you?


Pleather (vegan 🙂 Franco Sarto boots. Approx value: $50. I paid: $2.

Maternity sundress by Heidi Klum.  Approx value: $25. I paid: $2.

One woman’s maternity dress is another woman’s come up..

Striped shirt. Approx value: $10. I paid: $3.

I love stripes. Especially in the summer

Peace sign skirt. Approx value: $20. I paid: $6.


Sundress of unknown provenance. Approx value: $20. I paid: 6.


I think I’m most excited about the shoes.  The $15 heels were a splurge – I almost never pay more than $5 for clothes or shoes, but these just fit so perfectly and looked so damned sexy that I felt compelled to make an exception.  When I slipped them on, a crowd of ladies at the shop ooh’d and ahh’d at the glory.  I can see them now, with some denim skinny jeans – or shorts.  Lawd.  And those Naturalizers?  I mean.. perfect condition!  Not even a scuff on the heels!  Incredible find.  The “maternity” dress is lose and comfortable – perfect for lounging around the house on these hot summer days.

Now remember. Thrifting is not only amazing because of the gorgeous clothes you can find, but more importantly, it helps make the world a better place in tangible ways. If you shop at a legitimate, not-for-profit establishment, you are often able to contribute directly to charitable organizations.  Thrifting is also great for the environment — it’s a fashionable way of recycling and cuts down on waste.   So get out there and pop some tags already. And while you’re at it, donate something, too!

Academic Musings, Life Musings

The Room Where I Will Write My Book

This is the year that I must finish my book — and this is the room where it will happen.


I moved into my place almost exactly a year ago – and it has taken all 12 of these months to figure out what to do with this space.  It has built-in book shelves and a lovely window – so I always knew I wanted it to be my office, but I could never pull it together.  The room was difficult to decode because of its unwieldy dimensions: one side of the ceiling is slanted at a steeper angle than the other.  For a long time – indeed, right until a few weeks ago – I despaired that I would never be able to make this room work, much less work in it. When I first moved in, I tried having the desk in front of the window.   But I would bump my head on the ceiling if I moved too much to the left or the right, and that’s just . . . awkward.

Arranging my home office — and finding a resting place for my desk — had been the bane of my existence in this otherwise lovely home.  I must have moved my ergonomic-height-adjustable desk up and down the stairs 3-4 times.  A strong, muscular friend initially put it in my upstairs room when I first moved in.  Then I got frustrated with the room and moved it down the stairs — myself — to the room that’s now my bedroom.  But having an office in that room didn’t feel right.  So — in an exercise of terrible judgment — I decided to try and move the desk back upstairs on my own.  Somehow I was able to do it, but ended up with a crick in my neck and terrible back pain for about 2 weeks.  Do you know what it’s like to have a crick in your neck for 2 weeks?  I couldn’t move my head to the left or the right without searing pain.  On the upside, I learned an important life lesson: Never do stupid shit like that again.

So, I had two different friends help me at various points in the year move the desk up and down the stairs as I tried to figure out where to set up an office.  For most of the year, I ended up using my living room as an office — books and files piled up everywhere.  I felt like a bootleg professor, working on the couch with papers scattered on my coffee table.  Over time, the upstairs room devolved into a hot mess.



You cannot imagine the unspeakably terrible dungeon this room was before the revamping took place.  It was full of boxes, piles of paper, all manner of random junk and crap scattered across the floor.  Zora’s litter box was perched sadly in a forlorn corner.  There was another curtain hanging up, but it was tattered from the cat’s frenzied clawing and the curtain rod was broken.  It was a shameful.  A travesty.

Finally, the Spirit of Getting-Shit-Together swept over me right around the holidays and I resolved to go up to the room and simply ask myself: “What can I do with this space?”  I took a few minutes, did some conscious breathing and just “listened” to my intuition as I looked around.  Suddenly a bunch of ideas started flowing.  I began to get energized about organizing the boxes and storing them in the attic.  I vacuumed furiously, cleaned the carpet.  I already had my desk and an office chair, but I realized that I needed a long table to lay out my papers and files, as well as a few other items to make the room functional. I went to some second-hand furniture stores and thrift shops.  I found a used printer/computer stand for 8 bucks that matched my desk and bargained with the manager at one store to sell me a simple folding table for $12.  The table was ugly, however, so I knew I’d have to cover it.  So off I went to K-Mart for a few decorative items: a beige, natural fabric curtain that I cut and used to cover the table, a little library lamp, a small picture for the wall, a curtain rod and a red floral panel that would match some of the red accents.  I had a bunch of things already at home that I had previously purchased for the office but never had been able to put to use given the defunct status of the room.  I realized that it was best to keep the desk on the side of the room with the higher slope.  Now bumping my head on the most important side of the room isn’t an issue and having the desk where it is now is perfect because I can just swivel around in my chair and I’m facing the bookshelf without having to bend over or hit my head on the slanted ceiling. It took me about 2 days, but I finally got everything cleaned up, organized right before New Years.



It’s a simple office – nothing fancy.  But it’s mine.  And pretty.  And functional.  I absolutely love having a cozy, beautiful, dedicated space to get my work done at home.  Finally!  At long last!  I now feel a bit more like a “real” professor.

Zora’s definitely a fan, though she doesn’t seem to understand that the ottoman is for me to kick up my feet while I’m sipping tea and reading — not a velvety throne for her royal highness.



An unexpected surprise the next morning was finding the room aglow with beautiful red light, sun rays streaming through the curtain.